In re: Tobacco Litigation, a product liability case that consolidates as many as 1,000 individual tobacco claims in West Virginia, will be webcast live by CVN. The individual cases were consolidated in 2000.
In September 2005, Circuit Judge Arthur Recht certified a question to the West Virginia Supreme Court, asking whether the tobacco trial could be bifurcated into two phases: some elements of liability and a punitive damages multiplier would be determined in the first phase; compensatory damages for each plaintiff, and punitive damages based on the multiplier, would be determined in the second phase. The Supreme Court answered affirmatively.
The plaintiffs allege that Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard could have made safer cigarettes and deceived the plaintiffs about the health risks.
The trial was originally scheduled to begin at the start of 2010, but a mistrial was declared when the litigants were unable to find enough impartial jurors.
Phase 1 of the trial is scheduled to start next week. A different jury will hear Phase 2.